Fun At Home Pet Activities
People like to give back and make original gifts to give the animals. This page is full of ideas and activities that are fun for the whole family to participate in and feel good about doing them too.
This page is dedicated to original craft and baking ideas specifically for pets. You may use these ideas at home for your own pets, or shelter pets.
If you have an idea you would like to submit to our Pet Activities page please email us at [email protected] with the activity in the email, and the subject as Pet Activities.
Have you ever noticed that cats and dogs and even kids love the “toys” that are not meant for playing with, or the box you are meaning to put into the recycle bin but have not got it there yet? Some of these home made Pet Activities are a great way to make use of those things your pets love so much, they can have a blast and so can you while watching them play with what you thought was just another object around the house .
CAT NIP EGGS FOR ENRICHMENT
Sound easy? That is because it is,
Catnip – Dried, not fresh
Plastic Easter eggs – that open in two, and preferably with the little holes on the top and bottom
Take a teaspoon of catnip, open the plastic egg, place the catnip in the egg, close the egg, let kitty have fun with the egg. This is an enrichment we do for the kitties here at the Cheyenne Animal Shelter on occasion. The eggs are small and light enough that they can bat and kick the egg around, and they are not sealed so tight that they cannot smell the catnip inside the egg. And if kitty is really smart she can get the egg open and enjoy a little cat nip treat. You may also put treats in the egg after you know kitty can get the egg open. The eggs work just like treat balls.
PAPER RING TOYS
Every kitty loves to play with toys that fly high in the air and move around faster than them, Paper Ring toys are some of the easiest cat toys to make. This is also an enrichment activity the kitties at the Cheyenne Animal Shelter get to play with, and they absolutely love them.
Paper towel, toilet paper, or gift wrap rolls – empty, not with the paper, what a mess that could be
Scissors – for you, not for kitty
Take the paper rolls and cut them into 1 to 2 inch rings, and let kitty play. The kitties at the Cheyenne Animal Shelter love these as an activity and when we put them in the kennels with the kitties, we usually have to pick them up several times because they are having such a blast with these paper rings they accidentally throw them out between the kennel doors. They are completely safe for kitty to chew on, biodegradable, and it is a great way to recycle your old paper rolls, and get a blast watching kitty play at the same time.
Have you ever had a kitty that loves to play with string, rubber bands and your precious hair ties? Fringe rings are great for kitty to play with but you are going to have to supply the hair ties for these, it will be worth it tho, trust us on this. The critter camp groups do this project every year in the summer for the kitties at the Cheyenne Animal Shelter and we find they absolutely love these homemade toys.
Fabric – cut into strips about 1/2 to 1 inch in width, and between 3-6 inches long
hair ties or rubber bands – not too extravagant, these are for kitty not your hair
After your have your fabric of choice cut into strips, any fabric will do cats are not picky, proceed to tie the strips of fabric around the hair ties, or rubber bands. These look great in your hair too but kitty loves these toys more. Proceed to tie the fabric around the band until the entire thing has fabric strips around the whole thing. Finally let kitty play with your new home made fringe ring.
POM-POM PUFF BALLS
Ever caught kitty playing with the little pom-pom balls that are attached to your kid’s winter hat? They are just so much fun to play with as a kitty why not make a whole bunch of them? This one is a little more confusing, so we created pictorial directions for you too.
Yarn – hide from kitty until pom-pom puff balls are ready, or you may have a mess on your hands.
Scissors – again not for kitty
Someone elses fingers – please keep them attached, fingers are not replaceable and hard to re-attach
Ask your partner to hold two fingers as wide apart as possible, then start to wrap the yarn in a loop around their fingers. The farther apart your helper’s fingers are the bigger the pom-pom puff ball will be. At least and inch apart is sufficient. Wrap the yarn around the two fingers until you are satisfied with the amount of yarn for your pom-pom puff ball. Please remember the more yarn you use the more puffy your pom-pom will be. After you have decided you have enough yarn for your pom-pom puff ball, cut the yarn string off, then you are going to need to cut about 2 more inches for the center ring. Thank your helper for holding their fingers through this whole process. wrap the 2 inch piece of yarn around the center of the yarn loop to create two loops. Now your helper can have their fingers back after the 2 inch piece is secured tightly around the yarn loops. After the middle is secured you may begin to cut the ends of the loops so there are no more loops in your pom-pom puff ball. Pull apart the pieces of yarn, fluff the pom-pom puff ball, and watch kitty play with their new favorite toy. Another idea you can do to be more interactive with kitty is to leave the string long when you tie the center of the pom-pom so you and kitty can play together. You can even attach the long string to a dowel to really make kitty jump high.
KITTY RAG DOLLS
Kitty loves cat nip, kitty rag dolls are a fun and easy way to give kitty cat nip with out the mess.
Small Squares of fabric cut up into approximately 2×2 inch squares.
yarn or ribbon
cat nip – dried
This one is so easy anyone can do this activity. First lay out a square of fabric, then take a pinch, or teaspoon of cat nip and place it in the middle of the square. Then wrap the fabric around the cat nip, so the fabric bunches at the top if the cat nip ball and take your ribbon or yarn and tie a tight knot around the catnip ball, it will make a nice little bag and the left over fringe from the fabric will also grab kitty’s interest too.
MILK JUG RINGS
This one takes little to no work at all, it is not really an activity at all unless you are having a milk drinking contest. Have you ever taken the milk jug ring off your milk jug or the plug out of your silk carton and poured yourself a tall glass of milk? Then when you turn around your milk jug ring or carton plug is suddenly missing? Kitty loves to play with these little plastic wonders, and we are not sure why. You spend money on the toys that are made for kitty and when in all actual reality they would rather just receive a package of the milk plugs or milk jug rings. Collect them for the kitties at the Cheyenne Animal Shelter, and watch our beloved kitties have a ball.
Making toys for your puppy can be a blast, and it is fun for puppy too. Here is a few ideas we use or have seen here at the Cheyenne Animal Shelter to help enrich our beautiful dogs while they make the best of their stay here at the shelter. We do the best we can to keep our furry friends occupied while they are here, and being a non-profit organization homemade toys are a great way to keep them happy, and it gives the staff and volunteers a reward when they see how happy the dogs they care for on a daily basis are enjoying their hard work.
Stuffing Kong balls with treats such at peanut butter or canned dog food is a great way to keep puppy occupied. Stuffing Kongs and freezing them is a common enrichment for the puppies here at the Cheyenne Animal Shelter. It can be a little messy but that is half the fun for you and puppy to have a good time.
Kong ball – with the hole in the middle
Peanut butter, or canned ground dog food, or Kong filler spray cheese (the cheese is a little more expensive than peanut butter or dog food)
Biscuits or rawhide sticks
Make sure puppy’s Kong ball is clean, and free of bacteria. Choose your filler of choice, peanut butter, Kong filler cheese, break up the dog treats and put them in the bottom of the Kong, small enough so that puppy can get them out after they get the filler out. After you have put your desired amount of treats in the bottom, which are optional, you may now start to put your filler in the Kong, we usually use peanut butter here at the shelter when it is available, it keeps them busier for a while longer. You may use a spoon or spatula and just fill up the rest of the Kong with your filler. Sometimes we will use rawhide sticks and put those in the top to get the puppies started on their Kong treat endeavor. Then we freeze the Kongs for 12-24 hours, hand them out and let them enjoy.
PAPER ROLL TREATS
Paper roll treats work the same as the Kong balls except we use empty paper rolls, from paper towels, toilet paper rolls or wrapping paper rolls. The directions are the same as above but there is one additional step, you have to make sure you fold one of the ends before you start filling the paper roll, or you are going to have a mess on your hands. These are easy for clean up because puppy can eat them and chew them up and you wont have to worry about washing them, or hurting puppy. We do these often at the Cheyenne Animal Shelter too, the puppies love them and we can re-use our paper rolls with enrichment for the puppies.
WATER BOTTLE TREAT THINKERS
This is another favorite at the Cheyenne Animal Shelter for the staff and the dogs. Puppy loves to hear the crunch of the water bottle, to toss it into the air, and run around with it just like their favorite stuffed animal. When you stuff a water bottle with dog food kibble or small treats they work just the same as thinker toys.
Empty and clean water bottle or soda bottle, no cap needed
Small dog treats, or dog food kibble
After you have your clean water bottle, put a 1/2 cup or desired amount of treats or kibble in the bottle and let puppy enjoy. This one is really easy and it keeps puppy occupied for a while too, while working their brain. Treat balls at the pet store can be expensive, and some veterinarians recommend treat balls for dogs that need to eat slower or go on a diet so they will not eat as much for dinner. Water bottle treat thinkers are inexpensive and dogs love them.
BOTTLE SOCK PUPPETS
Again we all know how much dogs love the sound plastic makes when they bite down on the water bottle, almost as much as they love the squeaker in their favorite toys. An inexpensive way to please a dog is with the Bottle Sock Puppets.
Empty clean water or sod bottle, cap optional
Long tube sock
Take your empty water bottle and put it in the opening of the sock, and tie a knot at the top so the bottle does not come out. To make it look a little more fun you can also draw a face or design on the sock. Let puppy play and have a ball. Please keep in mind some dogs like to rip open the socks and eat them. This can be a hazard at times so please supervise puppy when playing with the Bottle Sock Puppet.
BRAIDED FLEECE TUGS
We have many children make these for the dogs and we find that they are easy to make and the dogs here at the Cheyenne Animal Shelter love them.
Fleece – cut into long strips
After you have your fleece cut into long strips tie a knot at the top, and proceed to braid them like you would braid hair. Make sure the braids are good and tight so puppy does not get his paws or mouth stuck in between the weave of the braid. After you have reached the end of the braid, tie a knot at the bottom so it does not unravel when puppy plays with the tug. Let puppy play.
HOMEMADE TREAT RECIPES FOR DOGS
Making Treats for dogs is becoming more and more popular. Here are some fun recipes to help you catch up with the trend and keep puppy happy too. We would love to see what recipes you have and we will add them to our recipe page, please email recipes for dogs to [email protected] subject Recipes for dogs for website.
Ok dog lovers, are you ready to spoil your dogs? Have you ever made a fresh batch of cookies, set them out on the cooling rack, and left the room for a couple of minutes? Puppy knows that when you leave a fresh batch of cookies unattended and in his reach, they are only going to one place, puppy’s tummy. Sometimes the cookies you made are not going to be safe for puppy and that might have an unplanned visit to the vet in there too. Here are some fun cookie recipes for puppy that will not make him sick if he gets on the counter and eats the whole batch, unless he gets a belly ache.
Please enjoy these recipes, we know we do. Critter Camp and several other generous groups bring out puppies at the Cheyenne Animal Shelter homemade treats all the time, and they are just as enjoyable as your common milk bone. There are also a few other easy homemade treat thinkers and enjoyable activities to create for puppy that we use all the time here at the Cheyenne Animal Shelter for puppy enrichment.
FROZEN PEANUT BUTTER YOGURT TREATS
1-32oz. container of vanilla yogurt
1 cup of peanut butter
Put the peanut butter in a microwave safe dish and microwave until melted.
Mix the yogurt and the melted peanut butter in a bowl.
Pour mixture into cupcake papers and freeze.
APPLE CINNAMON DROPS
1 large apple
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup of water
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1 cup oatmeal
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/8 cup whole wheat flour
Preheat oven to 350 ° F (180 ° C).
Core, slice and mince the apple (use a food processor if you have one). In a large bowl, combine the minced apple bits, honey, water, cinnamon, and oatmeal. Gradually blend in the wheat flour, adding enough to form a stiff dough.
In a small bowl, add 1/8 cup wheat flour. Spoon the dough by rounded teaspoon onto ungreased baking sheets, spacing about 2 inches (5cm) apart. Using the bottom of a glass dipped in the wheat flour (to prevent sticking), flatten each spoonful of dough into a circle. Adjust the size of the drops based on how big a treat you like to feed your dog.
Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and flip each cookie to brown evenly on both sides. Reduce oven temperature to 325 ° F (180 °C). Return to oven and bake for an additional 30 minutes. Let cool overnight.
Makes about 3 dozen crunchy cookies, depending on how big you make them.
1 teaspoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2/3 cup water
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3 tablespoons soy flour, low fat
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
1 tablespoon dried liver powder
1 tablespoon bone meal flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg — beaten (1/2 in recipe, 1/2 in glaze)
2 tablespoons cooking oil
3 tablespoons wheat germ
Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water.
Combine dry ingredients. Add half of the beaten egg, oil and yeast-water mixture. Mix well.
Knead on a well floured board until dough is firm. Place in oiled bowl, cover and let rise until double in bulk.
Shape into pretzels and place on greased cookie sheet. Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 15 minutes. Remove and brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with wheat germ. Return to oven and bake at 300 degrees for about 15 minutes until nicely browned and quite firm.
NOTE: YOU MAY OMIT LIVER POWDER AND BONE MEAL FLOUR IF YOU HAVE DIFFICULTY LOCATING THEM.
CANINE CARROT COOKIES
2 cups carrots — boiled and pureed
2 tablespoons garlic — minced
2 cups unbleached flour — *see Note
1 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup wheat germ
*or rice flour or rye flour.
Combine carrots, eggs and garlic. Mix until smooth. Add dry ingredients. Roll out on heavily floured surface and cut into bars or desired shapes. Bake at 300 degrees for 45 minutes or to desired crunchiness. The centers will continue to harden as they cool. Brush with egg white before baking for a glossy finish.
BIRTHDAY CAKE FOR PUPS
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup soft butter
1/2 cup corn oil
1 jar baby food, meat, beef, strained
2 strips beef jerky — (2 to 3)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour an 8x5x3 inch loaf pan. Cream butter until smooth. Add corn oil, baby food, and eggs. Mix until smooth.
Mix dry ingredients into beef mixture until batter is smooth. Crumble beef jerky and fold into batter. Pour batter into loaf pan. Bake 1 hour and 10 minutes. cool on wire rack 15 minutes. Ice with plain yogurt or cottage cheese.
Store uneaten cake in refrigerator.
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup honey
3 ¾ cups white flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ cup cornmeal
2 teaspoons cinnamon
Mix vegetable oil, shortening , honey with eggs. Beat well. Add flour, soda and cream of tartar. Knead dough until mixed well. Shape dough by rounded teaspoons into balls. Mix the cornmeal and cinnamon together in a bowl and roll balls in mixture. Place 2 inches apart on a greased cookie sheet . Press the balls down with a fork. Bake for 8-10 minutes at 400F. Cool on a rack. Store in airtight container.
TEMPTING TRAINING TREATS
2 1/3 cups flour — all-purpose or whole wheat
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup applesauce
1/2 cup grated cheese — like Parmesan
1 large egg
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup powdered milk — non-fat
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl; mix well; Roll the dough out to size of a cookie sheet; Pat the dough onto a lightly greased cookie sheet, bringing it to the edges. Using a sharp knife or a pizza cutter, cut desired sizes into dough (just score through). If you’re using as training treats, cut them into small pieces; Sprinkle a little extra cheese and garlic powder if desired on dough for flavor. Bake in a 350 degree oven about 15 minutes until golden brown. Turn off the oven and let cool for a few hours; They will keep hardening the longer you leave them. Break them apart; store tightly covered or in the freezer.
PEANUT BUTTER BONES
1 package dry yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1 cup mashed potatoes
1 cup milk
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 cup chicken stock 1 cup chunky peanut butter
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup rye flour
1/2 cup rice flour
2 cups all-purpose white flour
Preheat oven to 325 ° F (165 ° C).
In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in water. In a large saucepan, mix together the potatoes, milk, molasses, stock, and peanut butter. Heat, stirring frequently until boiling. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Add yeast mixture. Gradually blend in the egg, wheat, rye, and rice flours. Add enough white flour to form a stiff dough.
Transfer to a floured surface and knead until smooth (about 3-5 minutes). Shape the dough into a ball and roll to 1/2-inch (12 mm) thick. Using cookie cutters, cut out biscuits. Place on ungreased baking sheets, spacing them about 1/4-inch (6 mm) apart. Gather up the scraps, roll out again, and cut additional biscuits.
Bake for 45 minutes. Let cool overnight. Makes several dozen bones that freeze well–and have the consistency of pizza crusts, a favorite snack for most spoiled dogs!
SOFT DOGGIE COOKIES
3 (2 1/2 oz. each) jars of baby food; either beef or chicken
1/4 cup Dry milk powder
1/4 cup Wheat germ or cream of wheat
Combine all ingredients in bowl and mix well. Roll into small balls and place on well-greased cookie sheet. Flatten slightly with a fork. Bake in preheated 350F oven for 15 minutes until brown. Cool on wire rack. Refrigerate to keep fresh or freeze. Great for older dogs with teeth problems.
CHICKEN AND HONEY BISCUITS
2 1/2 teaspoons dry yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm water
3/4 cup chicken broth 1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons minced garlic
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup cracked wheat
Preheat oven to 325 ° F (165 ° C).
In a large bowl,dissolve yeast in water. Add egg, broth, honey, and garlic. Gradually blend in the flour and cracked wheat. Add enough wheat flour to form a stiff dough.
Transfer to a floured surface and knead until smooth (about 3-5 minutes). Shape the dough into a ball and roll to 1/4-inch (6 mm) thick. Using bone-shaped cookie cutters, cut out biscuits. Place on ungreased baking sheets, spacing them about 1/4-inch (6 mm) apart. Gather up the scraps, roll out again, and cut additional biscuits.
Bake for 45 minutes. Let cool overnight. Makes several dozen biscuits that freeze well.
1/2 cup dry milk
1 egg beaten
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp brown sugar
1/2 cup water
1 jar baby food (chicken or beef)
Roll to 1/2 inch thick and cut into desired treat shape. Bake at 350 for 15-18 minutes.
GLUTEN FREE DOG BISCUITS
2 ½ cups gluten-free oats
1 ½ cups potato starch (not potato flour)
½ cup white or brown rice flour
3 tablespoons flax seed meal
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 egg, beaten
½ cup olive oil
1/3 cup dry milk powder
1½ cups water
1 sweet potato, scrubbed but not peeled
Put 2 cups of the oats in a blender or food processor and grind into a fine powder. Combine with the remaining ½ cup oats, potato starch rice flour, flax seed meal and salt in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the egg and olive oil. Mix the dry milk powder with the water and combine with the rest of the ingredients.
Grate the sweet potato using the large holes of a box grater. Stir into the mixture. The dough should be firm, smooth and workable. If not add more rice flour. Cover the bowl with a towel and let set for 20 minutes to let the moisture distribute.
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Flour a work surface with rice flour and roll the dough out to either ¼ inch or ½ inch thick (depending on the size of your dog). Cut the biscuits out with a dog bone shaped or desired shape cookie cutter, pressing firmly to cut through the sweet potato. Transfer the biscuits to the prepared pans.
Bake for 1½ to 2 hours or until the biscuits are dry and firm. Let cool completely.
Store the Gluten-free Dog Biscuits in a food storage bag or airtight container.